[Advaita-l] Nirguna Brahman

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Tue Dec 14 09:02:01 CST 2004

On Mon, 13 Dec 2004, U.K Anumula wrote:

> Can somebody throw light on the differences and commonalities between
> advaita and monotheism and monism?

In even the mystical forms of monotheism, one only approaches near God.
Some sects came closer but they were regarded as heretical by the
mainstream.  Whereas in Advaita Vedanta, there is no ultimate distinction
between Self and God.  This is also different from e.g. vishistadvaita in
wich God is in the Self but the Self is not in God.

>  Are the concepts of "nirguna brahman' and "allah" (in Islam)
> comparable?

No for the reason above.  Also theists stress God as creator whereas for
Advaitins, creation is falsely superimposed on Brahman by the ignorance of
the jiva.

However to complicate things, there has been a lot of Hindu-Muslim
syncretism particularly in North India.  Not all of this was based on
Advaita Vedanta (for instance Sant Tulsidas of "Ishvara Allah tere naam"
fame was a vishistadvaitin Ramanandi.) but the syncretists did sometimes
use Advaita terminology such as nirguna.  However they came from a
completely different philosophical viewpoint than the thinkers we discuss

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a boy! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/nilagriva/

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